$26 million will fund energy efficiency and conservation projects

May 7, 2024

The U.S. Department of Energy is providing $26 million in federal grants to 37 projects across the United States for energy efficiency and development of renewable energy.

The funds will go to municipalities, states and Tribal nations for a variety of purposes such as upgrading state-owned lighting fixtures to be more energy efficient, investing in electric vehicles, e-bikes and EV charging, and installing HVAC systems that will save on energy costs. There are 14 eligible categories for grant recipients, including planning for local emissions reductions programs.

“Energy efficient upgrades are a surefire way to bring down costs and shore up resiliency for communities across the nation,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a press release, adding that the grants are part of the federal government’s effort to help “local governments with funds to transform clean energy plans into real actions.”

The money, allocated by the passage of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is part of the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. The program is equipped with $550 million, and includes the latest $26 million announcement, $118.4 million has been given out to 134 communities so far.

The cities of Houston and Chicago will each receive more than $2 million — the largest amounts for a municipality. Chicago will channel the funds towards education and planning for electrifying city vehicles and expanding the network of EV charging stations. In Houston, the fundis will be split between various projects including installing solar panels and battery storage for public facilities, updating energy codes and compliance enforcement, retrofitting buildings and establishing a revolving fund for future projects.

Large awards are going to the states of Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wyoming. Each state will receive between $1.5 and $2.3 million. Most of the state funding will be sub-granted out to counties and cities within those states to pursue projects that fit the energy efficiency and conservation guidelines.

12 projects fall under the electric vehicle infrastructure category. Cities in California, Colorado, Illinois and North Carolina will receive money specifically to purchase electric vehicles for their municipal vehicle fleets.

Investments are also being made in EV charging stations, and in Santa Monica, California, more than $157,000 will go toward an e-bike voucher program to make electrified bicycles more affordable for low-income residents.

One of the eligible uses for the grant program is installing energy efficient lighting. Three out of 37 projects are dedicated solely to replacing old lighting fixtures with high-efficiency LED lighting. Tuscaloosa, Alabama will receive more than $158,000 for upgrading 482 lights on the runway and taxiway of the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport with LED lighting. Chicopee, Massachusetts, will upgrade lighting at its city hall, and Port Arthur, Texas will install LED street lights. Both cities are receiving more than $100,000 for the LED lighting upgrades.

A full list of the grant recipients for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Program grant is available through the program’s website. The program, administered by the DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs, is still open for additional applications. For local governments, the deadline is October 31, 2024, and for Tribal nations, the deadline is May 31 2025.

Photo courtesy of the DOE

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